Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island. It divided from India 60 million years ago and since then has been sailing across the Indian Ocean back to Africa, its distinctive wildlife evolving in isolation.
The result of this seclusion is an extraordinary mix of animals, up to 85 per cent of which is found in Madagascar alone. Here you can see the worlds largest chameleon - and the world's smallest if you're lucky - colourful frogs and lizards, magnificent tropical birds and of course, Madagascar's most famous residents, the lemur, of which there are over 50 species.
With rainforest to the east, deciduous forest to the west and highlands in between, this fabulous island nation is one of the world's key conservation projects. Baobab trees are another distinctive sight. As such, Madagascar travel plans are often focussed on the country's impressive national parks and nature reserves.
Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Madagascar, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
Several regional climates. The main rainy season is from January to March there's also a risk of cyclones particularly in the east and northeast at this time. May to October is cooler but can be cold and windy in the highlands. April, October and November are the best months to travel.
A wide variety of national and local festivities. These sometimes feature Malagasy singers, known as mphira gasy, who sing and dance in theatrical groups. The Donia Music Festival is in May or June. Famadihana (turning of the bones) ceremonies run from July to October, families honour their dead by taking out their remains and re-burying them, usually Alahamady Be, the New Year is celebrated in March.
Rice dishes with sauces, meat, vegetables often served with hot peppers. Specialities include vary amid'anana (rice, leaves or herbs, meat and sometimes shrimps), and ramazava (leaves and beef and pork browned in oil). Toaka gasy is distilled from cane sugar and rice. Ranon 'apango is a non-alcoholic drink made from burnt rice. Three Horses is the main lager.
Madagascans are hospitable and welcoming. They also have a relaxed attitude to time which can be frustrating. Public forms of transport, for instance, will not generally move until they are full. Dress is casual except for the smartest hotels. Bargaining is expected. Gifts should be offered if staying at a village, usually to the headman. Don't approach gravestones without permission. Respect the local taboos (fady). An invite to a Famadihana ceremony (see festivals) should be considered an honour.
Antananarivo (TNR) 17 km from the city.
Extensive domestic air network. Taxi-brousses (bush taxis) are the most prevalent road transport. Inside and around major cities there are buses. Car hire available in main tourist towns. Railways link Moranga with Ambila Lemaitso and there is an east coast line. Pousse-pousse (rickshaws) also operate.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Madagascar. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Madagascar. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Madagascar, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
The types of holiday listed below are just a flavour of the experiences available in Madagascar. We can also suggest and plan alternative types of holiday to take into account your individual interests. To start planning what to do whilst away, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0611.
Tim Tan - Africa Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0611